not here & never was

i recently released a shawl kit in collaboration with the marvellous Anna Maltz which i’m really excited about! although it’s been in the wild for a few weeks now, i thought i should probably tell you a little bit more about it.

the shawl kit (& pattern) is called “not here & never was”, and both the colourways and the pattern are inspired by probably my favourite picture book ever, also called Not Here & Never Was, written & illustrated by Virginia Smith in 1968. this magical book tells the story of a dinosaur (Not Here) & a dragon (Never Was); they meet one day, “deep in the woods where the fat flowers grow”, they pack a picnic of cakes, build a “rolling, floating, boating machine”, and set off on an adventure.

since Not Here is always cold, Never Was even magicks him some snazzy scarves to wear; this is what gave me the notion to pair the fantastic colour scheme from the book with a shawl pattern.

the colours and illustrations in the book are just wonderful – the book illustrator did an amazing job; incredibly vivid & joyful, and a little bit on the peculiar side. even the endpapers are glorious.

the joyful and weird nature of the illustrations & the story immediately made me think of Anna (& i absolutely mean that as the biggest compliment!!). i’m utterly in awe of the way her mind works as a designer – she has an incredibly unique way of looking at things, and she approaches knitwear design with an immense amount of imagination and oddness (in the best possible sense of that word!). i sent her the new colourways, found another secondhand copy of the book (i wasn’t going to send her my precious copy – what if it got lost in the post??!?), and simply said “shawl” – no other design brief! – and i’m really excited with what she came up with.

©Jeni Reid

the shawl is knitted in two halves, one of each colourway, with the tips of the shawl representing each of their tails so that when wrapped around you, the tails entwine. this is both a simple and a complex knit – it uses short rows, eyelet lace, and garter stitch to shape the two halves, each with a different approach to triangular construction.

©Jeni Reid

the kits are now available in the web shop; each kit contains one skein each of new colourways “not here” & “never was” on the superwash merino 4ply (these new colourways will only be dyed for the kit and won’t be available anywhere else!). you’ll also receive a beautiful printed postcard with pattern gauge & details on it, as well as a code for a digital download of the pattern (you won’t receive a paper copy of the pattern, or any knitting needles). i’m trying to cut down on unnecessary plastic, so your kit will be tied into a nice little bundle with some beautiful dragon-scale ribbon.

you can find the kit in the web shop here, and there are more photos and details of the pattern on its Ravelry page!


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